New York – Even with an unemployment rate hovering at around 10 percent, a struggling economy and a slew of states implementing strict immigration law, Latinos still have faith in the American Dream, according to an exclusive poll released by Fox News Latino.
The poll, which surveyed 887 likely Latino voters, found that 73 percent believe that their families will achieve the American Dream, compared to only 7 percent who don’t think they’ll attain the American Dream.
“When they come to this country, they are like someone who has converted to another religion,” said Vincent Parrillo, a professor of sociology at William Paterson University, about the immigrant experience in the U.S. “They are a little more devout than those who are born here.”
Throughout recent history it has been a commonly held perception among the successive waves of immigrants who have come to the U.S. that the country will help provide them with a better life for themselves and their families.
“People here tend to gripe and whine because this is all they know,” Parrillo said. “But immigrants have a different perspective. They know what they left behind.”
The idea of the American Dream has been promoted throughout American history, especially among immigrants whose newspapers written in their own languages promote ideas of education, social growth and personal freedoms for themselves and their families.
“Throughout the world – both past and present – the seed of hope has been planted about life in America,” Parrillo said.
In the past, the American Dream has faced as much criticism as it has praise with authors such as Arthur Miller and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who in his famous novel “The Great Gatsby” condemned the greed and materialism he saw around him.
“They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made,” Fitzgerald wrote in the Great Gatsby.
The Fox News Latino poll also found that Latinos believe the next generation of Latinos in the United States will be better off than they are today.
About 74 percent of those surveyed said that life will be better than today, while only 13 percent believe it will be worse and 3 percent said it will be the same, the poll states.
With Latinos becoming a major force in the U.S. – not only politics, but also in media, entertainment and business – the demographic’s optimism seems to be warranted.
"Being an immigrant is the harshest basic training to becoming an entrepreneur," said Roy Sosa, a former U.S. Marine, millionaire venture capitalist and co-founder of Netspend Corporation. "You leave everything behind, you're going into a place where nothing is promised, failure is almost guaranteed, and you’re going to have to work very, very, hard and be very, very creative if you’re going to survive."
Fox News Latino plans to release the full results of the poll next week.